051 I saw my neighbour build a house last year.
051 I saw
my sister’s neighbour building a house last night.
051 Do you see that blue bird fishing in the lake?
051 I’m looking at the big cranes unloading a huge liner in the harbour.
heard my nephew practise the guitar from the first chord to the last concert.
051 I heard my granddaughter reading aloud the poem for tomorrow.
051 Can you hear what the speaker is saying?
051 I’m listening
to some exciting news on the radio.
051 Grandfather smells of garlic.
051 Something smells burning.
051 My dog is smelling the lamp-post.
051 The horses smelt the water from a mile off.
051The milk tastes sour.
051 Can you taste the ginger in this cake?
051 My aunt was tasting the sauce and liked
it a great deal.
051 Please taste this soup for salt.
it feels like silk.
051 These sheets feel damp.
I feel cold. Can you turn the heater on?
051 The doctor was feeling the boy1s pulse on his temple.
051 I noticed that John avoided mentioning Theresa’s name.
051 I have been observing Theo’s
development for the past two months.
051 The Chair recognized the Representative.
051 I’m seeing my friend off at the airport.
051 Dr Bitter is hearing the case.
Leslie: Here and Now we are dealing with Verbs of Perception.
Barnaby: What are Verbs
of Perception and why are they special?
L: Verbs of Perception are closely related to the five senses: sight, hearing, smelling, taste, and touch. Some
other Verbs also belong here that are related to the mind.
The chief Verbs of this category are: see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.
B: And why are they special?
L: They are special because we don’t
use them in the Continuous [Progressive] Tenses in their original meaning.
In other words, we use them in the Simple Tenses even if the meaning is ’Here
and Now’, or ’There and Then’.
B: And what are the other Verbs that are related to the mind?
L: They are: notice, observe, and recognize.
B: Are they special in any other way?
L: Yes. The Verb ’see’ may mean an action that is related to a moment, but also a chain of actions that suggets ’from start to finish’.
In different contexts, of course.
B: We have two Sentences to
demonstrate this and they are ’I saw my neighbour build a house last year.’ and ’I saw my sister’s neighbour building a house last night.’
L: This is the situation for the first Sentence: I have a new neighbour, Joe, who bought a plot across the street, just opposite my house. It was in last January.
In March, they started the groundworks and by May, the foundations were ready.
I didn’t watch, but as far as I could
see, they worked very intensively an at the end of November, Joe and his wife Helen invited me to their House-Warming Party.
B: It is clear and we expressed
this meaning with a VERB of PERCEPTION + the BARE INFINITIVE for BUILD.
It is like a film.
L: Right. In contrast, the situation for the second Sentence is: I visited my sister last night and as i was walking along the street, I saw that a neighbour is in the middle
of building his house.
I didn’t watch; I simply know form the sight what he is in the middle of doing.
B: It is again very clear and we expressed this different meaning with a VERB of PERCEPTION + the ING-FORM for BUILD.
It is like a snap-shot.
L: The next Sentence ’Do you
see that blue bird fishing in the lake?’ demonstates very well that the action is ’Here and Now’ and we express it with the Present Simple Tense of the Verb of Perception.
B: Sure, but in the next, the Tense is Present Continuous: ’I’m looking at the big cranes unloading a huge liner in the harbour.’
How come? Why is it possible?
L: The Verb ’see’ is a Verb of Perception but the Verb ’look’
In other words, the Verb ’look’, and also the Verb ’listen’ are about voluntary actions; they are the result of out own
To feel the difference, I can put it this way: ’seeing’ is a Faculty while ’looking’ is an Activity.
And exactly the same way, ’hearing’ is a Faculty while ’listening’ is an Activity.
B: In the next Sentence ’I heard my nephew practise the guitar from the first chord to the last concert.’, I guess, the ’from start to finish’ –idea is reflected, while in the one
after next ’I heard my granddaughter reading aloud the poem for tomorrow.’ the ’There and Then’ –idea is expressed.
You are absolutely right. What comes next?
B: In the Sentence ’Can you hear what the speaker is saying?’ we express a ’Here and Now’
–idea with the help of ’Can’.
In contrast, in the Sentence after that ’I’m listening to some exciting news on the radio.
’ the Verb ’listen’ is about an involuntary action and it is rightfully in Present Continuous Tense.
L: Correct. What comes next?
B: ’Grandfather smells of garlic.’
We use Present
Simple Tense but the meaning is limited to the ’Here and Now’ and it is exactly the same in the next Sentence ’Something smells burning.’ It is very clearly ’Here and Now’.
It is in clear contrast with ’My dog is smelling the lamp-post.’ where ’smelling’ is a synonym for ’sniffing’ and the use of the Present Continuous Tense is correct.
L: The Sentence ’The horses smelt the water from a mile off.’ is not exactly ’Here and Now’; it is more about a general capacity of all horses in
sensing water form a distance.
B: The next Sentence ’The milk tastes sour.’ is definitely not about the taste of milk in general; it is more
about the taste of this portion of milk this very moment.
Here we use Present Simple Tense but we mean ’Here and Now’ and it is exactly the
same with the Sentence after next ’Can you taste the ginger in this cake?’
Here, we express the ’Here and Now’ with the help
L: In ’My aunt was tasting the sauce and liked it a great deal.’ we use the Present Continuous Tense because it relates
to an activity of checking the taste.
B: It is in clear contrast with ’Please taste this soup for salt.’.
The use of the Imperative makes it a ’Non-Routine Here and Now’.
In the Sentence ’It feels like silk.’ we use Present Simple Tense but the meaning is clearly ’Here and Now’ because I’m under the impact of touching that material.
And it is exactly the same here: ’These sheets feel damp.’
B: In the Sentence ’I feel cold. Can
you turn the heater on?’ I need an immediate action ’Here and Now’ because of the sensation of the temperature.
L: The sensation of
the temperature is always momentary; we cannot sense the temperature as a routine.
B: The next Sentence ’The doctor was feeling the boy’s
pulse on his temple.’ is completely different because it describes a physical contact and such a contact here means ’the doctor was taking the pulse’ or ’the doctor was counting the pulse-rate’.
L: The next three Sentences show examples of Verbs that belong to the Verbs of Perception because of the Mind-Activities in them.
They are on the borderline between Present Continuous Tense and Present Simple Tense. ’I noticed that John avoided mentioning Theresa’s name.’ and ’I
have been observing Theo’s development for the past two months.’ and also ’The Chair recognized the Representative.’ [meaning let them
address the Assembly]
The last two Sentences give examples of using Verbs of Perception in the Continuous Tense with a changed meaning. ’I’m
seeing my friend off at the airport.’ [accompanying him] and ’Dr Bitter is hearing the case.’ [he is the Judge]